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15 of the Best Lakes in Mississippi

By | Last Updated: 13th January 2024

To beat the heat of Mississippi, you could plan a vacation or an outdoor day trip to the gorgeous lakes of the state. The pristine waters are ideal for a refreshing dip while you soak in the beauty of the scenic surroundings. With natural lakes and man-made reservoirs scattered throughout the state, you will find a plethora of recreational activities to have an enjoyable time.

Lakes in Mississippi

Lakes in Northern Mississippi

1. Sardis Lake

Sardis Lake in Northern Mississippi

Numerous visitors flock to Sardis Lake every year to admire its beauty and engage in various activities. The sandy beach along its shoreline is a hotspot in summer where one can soak in the sun and enjoy taking a refreshing dip. Water sports like kayaking and water-skiing add up to the fun. You can rent boats or refuel your own boats at the Sardis Lake Marina on the southwestern side of the lake. After a whole day’s adventure, you can return to the marina and enjoy a hearty meal at the restaurant there. If seeking accommodation facilities, you’ll find ample campsites at the adjoining John W. Kyle State Park.

Fishing: The lake has an excellent population of white bass, crappie, catfish, walleye, largemouth bass, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding,

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2. Arkabutla Lake

Arkabutla Lake in Northern Mississippi

If you’re planning a scenic retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you could consider visiting Akabutla Lake. Located in a remote area in Tate and Desoto Counties, it offers visitors a peaceful setting to indulge in several land and water activities, like sailing and hiking. With three public beaches surrounding it, it’s a hub for swimmers in the summer. Also, the encompassing playgrounds with shaded picnic tables and grills are favorite spots among families with kids. The campsites dotting the shoreline feature pavilions from where one can take in the lake’s panoramic views.

Fishing: Arkabutla Lake provides anglers the opportunity to catch several fish species like bass, catfish, crappie, white bass, bream, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, camping, biking, hiking, golfing, and picnicking

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3. Pickwick Lake

Pickwick Lake

Pickwick Lake borders the states of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. In Mississippi, it lies within Tishomingo County in the extreme northeastern corner. You can head to the J.P Coleman State Park to indulge in various fun-filled outdoor activities. After spending time at the state park, don’t miss checking out the gorgeous Cooper Falls cascading into the lake just outside the park premises. If you’re looking for a comfortable stay, you could rent one of the spacious rooms at the nearby Pickwick Landing Lodge.

Fishing: Smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are abundant in the lake. You will also find catfish. crappie, walleye, bluegill, sunfish, and spotted bass.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, stand up paddleboarding, camping

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4. Enid Lake

Enid Lake in Northern Mississippi

Enid Lake is a family-friendly lake in Yalobusha County, accessible by an hour’s drive from Memphis. It offers numerous opportunities for visitors to picnic in the shaded areas and be involved in various water activities like swimming and jet-skiing. Families planning an extended vacation will surely enjoy staying in the surrounding campgrounds like Wallace Creek or Chickasaw Hill.

The lake also features a North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Visitor Education Center, which is worth visiting. You can see the 10000-gallon aquarium and many fascinating displays, artifacts, and exhibits relating to aquatic life.

Fishing: Enid Lake is well-known for its giant white crappies. You can also fish for bass, bream, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, camping, boating, kayaking, water skiing, jet skiing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, wildlife watching

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5. Columbus Lake

Columbus Lake in Northern Mississippi

Located on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in the northeast part of the state, Columbus Lake is a perfect spot to enjoy nature. You could either explore the water with your kayak or have a fun time jet skiing. Many visitors also claim to have spotted alligators in the lake.

Besides this, there is also a pavilion that offers splendid views of the lake, and you can even have your lunch there. If preferring to indulge in some more activities, you could walk to one of the four nearby golf courses to enjoy playing a match.

Fishing: Bass, crappie, and catfish are plentiful in Lake Columbus.

Other Activities: Boating, kayaking, water skiing, tubing, picnicking, golfing

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6. Choctaw Lake

Choctaw Lake in Northern Mississippi

This quaint lake is a part of Tombigbee National Forest in northeastern Mississippi. A 3-mile trail winds around the lake, allowing one to appreciate the scenery as they tread along.. Also, the public beach is a great spot to enjoy cooling off in the summer, while the two boat ramps offer quick access to the water with your boats. However, do keep in mind that Choctaw Lake is a seasonal lake, open from around mid-March to the last week of November. Check once with the lake’s officials before planning your trip. There is a parking fee of about $ 5 per vehicle.

Fishing: The lake offers several fish species, including channel catfish, largemouth bass, and bluegill, for anglers to enjoy catching.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, camping, picnicking, hiking, and bicycling

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7. Grenada Lake

Grenada Lake in Northern Mississippi

This man-made reservoir on the Yalobusha River is a favorite vacation spot for many. Whether you
like water sports like boating and water skiing or a relaxing time at the shoreline, Grenada Lake would be a perfect choice. It is well kept and provides ample amenities for recreational purposes. If you’re up for some challenging adventure, you could tread along the nearby 2.3-mile loop of Lost Bluff Trail. With plenty of playgrounds, the spot is also well-loved by children.

Fishing: This lake is excellent for catching crappie, white bass, largemouth bass, and catfish. Several fishing tournament, including Crappie Masters National Championship and Magnolia Crappie Club Tournament are held every year on the lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, hiking, hunting, skiing, bird watching, camping, picnicking, and golfing

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8. Lake Mohawk

Lake Mohawk in Northern Mississippi

Lake Mohawk is a 200-acre reservoir, lying in a gated area on a private property in Booneville. Only the lake community’s people and their guests have access to the various amenities. If you are allowed inside by the members, you could enjoy boating and swimming. For speed enthusiasts, they would surely have fun water skiing in the less-crowded lake.

Fishing:  Various fish species like largemouth bass, white bass, bluegill, carp, and catfish reside in the lake.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, water skiing

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Lakes in Central Mississippi

1. Ross Barnett Reservoir

Ross Barnett Reservoir in Central Mississippi

Ross Barnett Reservoir, nicknamed Rez, is a multi-purpose reservoir on the Pearl River. Besides providing drinking water to several parts of the state, it also boasts of various recreational activities for visitors. With around 22 boat launches, you can easily launch your boats in the water and admire the picturesque setting. A flight of American white pelicans also visits the reservoir annually during their migration period, offering a visual treat.

While you are on your vacation at Ross Barnett Reservoir, don’t miss hiking a section of the nearby 440-mile Natchez Trace Parkway to experience the beautiful forest setting.

Fishing:  Numerous anglers are drawn to the national and regional fishing tournament held in the reservoir. Fish species like crappie, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and catfish are abundant.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, sailing, water skiing, camping, hiking, picnicking, bird watching

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Lakes in Southern Mississippi

1. Clear Springs Lake

Clear Springs Lake in Southern Mississippi

This spring-fed lake is a hidden gem nestled amidst the pine-covered hills of Homochitto National Forest. Strolling along the path that encompasses it is one of the best ways to soak in its beauty. You will also find other hiking and biking trails in the vicinity. Swimming in its pristine water is another sought-after activity.

The picnic area is ideal for families to gather over a meal, while the camping spots provide a serene setting for a peaceful and relaxing overnight stay. You will have to pay a parking fee of about $ 5 per vehicle to visit the lake.

Fishing: Common fish species that you can enjoy catching include largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and redear sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, hiking, biking, camping, picnicking

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2. Little Black Creek Lake

Little Black Creek Lake in Southern Mississippi

This lake is located within the Little Black Creek Lake Campground and Park area in Lumberton. You could enjoy cooling off in the water or set to paddleboard on it. If feeling adventurous, there is an exciting zip line within the premises that is worth a try. The cozy cabins and RV sites provide an impressive view of the lake, making the spot ideal for spending a family vacation. You can also enjoy your stay at the primitive campground that sits in a wooded landscape. 

Fishing: The lake is populated with plenty of largemouth bass, channel catfish, white perch, and bream.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, golfing, zip lining

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3. Lake Bill Waller

Lake Bill Waller in Southern Mississippi

Named after the state’s former governor, William Lowe Waller, this body of water is a pretty little made-made lake in Marion County. Though it has limited amenities for recreational purposes, it offers a calm and serene setting where visitors enjoy spending a quiet time. However, camping facilities are not available on-site. If you still want to extend your stay, you’ll find campsites in the neighboring state parks like Paul B Johnson State Park and Lake Lincoln State Park.

Fishing: Visitors enjoy fishing in Lake Bill Waller due to the abundant fish species like largemouth bass, crappie, bream, walleye, and sunfish.

Other Activities: Boating, kayaking, and hunting

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4. Marathon Lake

Marathon Lake in Southern Mississippi

Marathon Lake, located in Smith County in south-central Mississippi, is mainly known for its spacious campsites. The wooded surrounding makes it an ideal spot to enjoy a peaceful time with your family. Visitors also enjoy strolling on the 2-mile loop trail around the lake and taking a refreshing dip in the calm and cool water. You would also find other amenities on the premises, including picnic shelters, picnic tables, a boat ramp, and bathhouses.

Fishing: The lake has a rich stock of catfish, bass, and crappie.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, kayaking hiking, and picnicking

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Lakes in Western Mississippi

1. Lake Washington

Lake Washington in Western Mississippi

Lake Washington, an oxbow lake, is just off Highway 1 in Washington County. Besides fishing, visitors often hop into their boat from one of the seven boat launches to enjoy the calm and untouched surroundings. You can also watch the various waterfowl, and if lucky, you might spot an alligator in the swampy areas.

Fishing: The shallow water of Lake Washington is a well-known fishing spot. While anglers usually catch crappie without waiting much, fish species like bass, crappie, bream, and catfish are other common catches. Do go through the rules and regulations at the lake’s website before planning to visit the lake for fishing.

Other Activities: Swimming, tubing, boating, kayaking, water skiing, wildlife watching

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Lakes in Eastern Mississippi

1. Aliceville Lake

Aliceville Lake in Eastern Mississippi

Also known as Pickensville Lake, Aliceville Lake is a man-made reservoir. Though it lies mainly within western Alabama, a part of it also flows into eastern Mississippi, providing ample recreational opportunities to the visitors of both states.

If you enjoy wildlife watching, you are in for a treat as the lake is home to diverse wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and several waterfowl and migratory birds. The scenic surrounding with the glistening water flowing also makes a picturesque setting to enjoy a picnic with your family.

Fishing: Visitors can expect to catch fish species like largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and redear sunfish.

Other Activities: Swimming, boating, hiking, birdwatching, camping, wildlife watching, and hunting

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Best Lakes for Fishing: Lake Washington, Ross Barnett Reservoir, Grenada Lake

Best Swimming Lakes: Pickwick Lake, Grenada Lake, Sardis Lake

Best Lakes to Live On: Columbus Lake, Ross Barnett Reservoir, Sardis Lake

Best Camping Lakes: Little Black Creek Lake, Enid Lake, Marathon Lake

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